For all of winter’s wonderful offerings (snow sports, eggnog and cozy sweaters), the less-than-wonderful weather can pose a few problems to our hair. Freezing temperatures and excessive indoor heating can suck the precious moisture from your scalp and hair, leading to a host of problems, including frizz, split ends and static hair.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect your hair from the harsh effects of winter. Keep scrolling for some helpful advice on how to keep your strands in tip-top shape all season long.
1. Start with a moisturizing shampoo
Keeping your hair hydrated with a moisturizing shampoo is one of the easiest ways to protect it from winter’s drying effects. To quench dry, thirsty strands this winter, skip the sulfate shampoos and reach for a shampoo bar instead.
Unlike conventional shampoos, shampoo bars are typically loaded with plant-based ingredients that help protect dehydrated strands and promote a healthier scalp. The fact that shampoo bars come sans plastic bottles (thus, making them better for the environment) is just the cherry on top of your new and improved hair care routine.
2. Wash your hair less often
Although a nourishing shampoo can go a long way in keeping hair healthy and strong in cold weather, be careful not to overdo it. Over-washing your mane can strip the natural oils from your scalp, leading to dry, dehydrated strands — the exact thing you’re trying to prevent in the wintertime!
This naturally begs the question: How often should you be washing your hair?
According to the experts, people with oily hair can wash their hair every day or every other day, while those with textured or curly hair should wash their strands no more than once a week or every other week. Want to find your personal sweet spot this winter? Try playing around with how often you wash your hair until you find a frequency that works for you.
3. Don’t skip conditioner
Tempted to skip the conditioner in the morning? In a word: don’t. From protecting your strands from split ends and breakage to reducing static and frizz, conditioner does a lot more for your hair than you might think. And in the wintertime, your mane needs all the help it can get!
For ultimate protection against cold weather, pair your shampoo bar with a highly moisturizing conditioner bar containing natural oils — like jojoba oil and sunflower seed oil — for deep hydration and nourishment. (Pro tip: For extra protection against cold weather, use your conditioner bar as a leave-in conditioner!)
4. Wear the right hat
We all know that hats are a must-have accessory for the wintertime. On top of keeping your noggin nice and warm in frigid temps, a cozy hat can also help protect your luscious locks from the elements. But before you buy any old hat, just know that some hats can cause breakage and split ends.
To keep your mane in perfect condition, choose a hat made from softer materials (cashmere is always a nice splurge) and consider wearing your hair in a protective hairstyle (think French braids or a fishtail braid).
5. Use a nourishing hair oil
If you weren’t already using a hair oil in your hair care routine, now is a great time to start. When the dry, winter air starts sucking the moisture from your hair and scalp, hair oils are a great way to seal in moisture and revitalize parched strands. Plus, they can help with winter hair styling. Simply apply a few drops from mid-length to ends daily, and you’ll be frizz-free and good to go.
Not all hair oils are created equal, however. If your goal is to prevent dryness and breakage, coconut oil and argan oil are safe bets. Both oils are rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble nutrient known for its ability to seal in moisture and protect the hair shaft from damage.
6. Blow dry hair completely before going outside
Contrary to popular belief, going outside with damp tresses won’t make you sick. It can, however, wreak serious havoc on your hair. When your hair is wet, it has a higher risk of damage and split ends. This is because the proteins in your just-showered strands form weaker bonds when they’re wet, making them more susceptible to winter’s harsh elements.
So, if you prefer to skip the blow dryer, make sure you give your hair plenty of time to air-dry (perhaps by taking a shower at night). Otherwise, you’re better off using a heat protectant and a blow dryer in the wintertime.
7. Invest in a humidifier
Humidity might be your hair’s number one nemesis in the warmer months, but come wintertime, it’s a hair savior. Cold weather and dry indoor air can lead to dryness in your scalp and hair, which means a flaky scalp as well as dull, brittle strands.
If you want to be proactive about your hair this winter, investing in a humidifier is a smart move. Humidifiers keep moisture in the air, so moisture is less likely to evaporate from your hair, scalp and skin. Along with the promise of better skin and hair health, humidifiers can also help prevent illness, making them a no-brainer for wintertime.
8. Avoid excessive heat
Winter weather is brutal enough on your hair as it is. Throw in piping hot showers and heat styling tools, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for dry, damaged locks.
To keep your hair luscious and shiny all season long, try to take lukewarm showers and go easy on the curling iron. (Tip: If a hot shower is how you like to warm up or relax, try warming up with a heat pad or a cup of hot tea instead. Your hair, skin and electricity bill will appreciate it!)